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Omaha Metro looking for public input to make improvements to public transportation through MetroNEXT program

Posted at 7:26 AM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 08:26:38-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The coronavirus has changed many things, and the Metro bus system was no exception.

Even though Metro has seen some negative effects, such as a 40% decrease in riders, Metro is looking to make some positive changes soon.

"Omaha is growing, it's changing. COVID has certainly changed how people move around the city, what their mobility needs are. We are using this as a chance to really think strategically and holistically about where we are as an agency, and where we need to go," said Lauren Cencic, the CEO of Omaha Metro Transit.

The number of people who use public transportation may have gone down, but the bus system continues to be vital in our community.

"Even in a global pandemic, people still really rely on our service. We're still carrying over 7,000 rides a day across our system," said Cencic.

Over the next year, Metro wants to hear from you, the community, and those who ride the bus, in order to improve the experience of bus transportation in Omaha.

"We want to hear from the community. We are starting with a series of virtual public meetings in March. We are holding virtual public meetings on March 25th, 27th, and 30th. That's really just the start of this," said Cencic.

From signage, to benches, to shelter, to peak riding hours, all of these will be included in discussions with the community on how to make improvements.

"We will be looking at the possibility of additional ORBT lines and where those might be throughout the city," said Cencic.

Improvements can only happen with pubic input.

"It's clear that people want improved public transportation, whether it's for more equitable access to jobs or education, or just because it's a lifestyle option they want. Public transit is key to unlocking our region's economic potential in the 21st century," said Stephen Osberg, the Director of Transportation Development with the Greater Omaha Chamber.